The bonsai of e-coaching
Being an e-coach: coaching competencies and beyond
- Written by Macarena Vergara and Antonie Bors -
What is it like to be an e-coach? What is the thinking and unique philosophy behind this modality of coaching? In e-coaching, we curate the relationship through the power of the written word. An e-coach works at cultivating trust, safety and intimacy with every written message. Macarena Vergara, e-coach at eCoachPro, talks about e-coaching and what it entails for her as a coach.
You may recognize this situation. A participant is inspired during a coaching session, has gained important insights in her patterns of thought and behavior and is keen to apply her learning in her daily context. She tries but fails. Her next contact with her coach is a face-to-face session in two weeks. The momentum is lost, attention is lost, her involvement in her own process of change drops and she soon falls back into her old habits.
“In every written message I’m in fact ‘dancing’ with the coachee in the moment”
Being an e-coach
In e-coaching we curate the relationship through the power of the written word. Written messages don’t evaporate, they become a powerful mirror of the coachee in real time: where they are, their thinking, their worldview - maintaining the focus on what the coachee is trying to achieve. The dialogue is key and as an e-coach, I take special care (and we are trained to do this) to use every word consciously, being mindful of building bridges and advancing the conversation with every exchange, keeping the awareness and the momentum in the coaching. As an e-coach I have to be in my coaching presence even without my coachee: I am holding space, cultivating the openness, the curiosity, the empathy and non-judgement in their absence. In every message I write to my coachee - as I would do in face-to-face coaching session - I have to get into the “zone”, block out everything else, and listen deeply. I connect to that part of me that has the coachee’s potential, her struggle and goals in mind. In every written message I am in fact ‘dancing’ with the coachee in the moment.
The written word is about creating time and space to think and process. It activates the emotional system and thus ensures deep reflection. As e-coaches we learn to apply effort, ingenuity and dedication to our coaching dialogue and relationship.Just like I would when growing a bonsai tree: in every message I focus on removing clutter and distilling what is essential for the advancement of the conversation, ultimately for the growth of my coachee. E-coaching requires of me to remain patient: I maintain a conversation stretched through days and weeks - as every message is a mindfully and carefully produced bite-size step of theprocess of change. E-coaching to me is an exercise in deep consciousness and reverence to the coachee’s journey.
‘Like the growth of a bonsai tree: the removal of clutter and distilling what is essential for the advancement of the conversation.’
Our mission at eCoachPro is to offer e-coaching as an unobtrusive, seamless addition to everyday working life to as many as people as possible. We deliver continuous online coaching for leadership development, with an average of 2 online interactions per week.
- We use both synchronous (face-to-face or video calls) and asynchronous (written) coaching to ensure continuous interaction between a coach and a participant (availability 24/7).
- Coaching is – in a continuous and consistent way – brought to the participants’ day-to-day working context.
- It is a fully customized and intense experience of development and personal transformation, enabling efficient, effective and sustainable behavioral change.
We use the ABC (Accelerated Behavioral Change) model. This coaching model evokes awareness, explores towards goal-setting, motivates action, facilitates growth and enables insight and learning. It consists of three stages: Analyze, Internalize and Sustain. The Analyze stage involves exploration and introspection, the Internalize stage is about implementing new behaviors in everyday life and harnessing the learning, and in the Sustain stage we work to ensure the maintenance and preservation of the new skills and behaviors.